Summary: A sermon focusing on the basis of our message, Jesus Christ
“Nothing But Jesus”
I Cor 2 1-5
It is the first century a sunny day in Jerusalem, the “City of Peace” as its name implies, and you can hear the murmurs of ill contempt spreading through the fringes of the crowd as Stephen proclaims his message. Beginning with Abraham, describing his faith in Jehovah God to provide, guide, and protect, he walks through the patriarchs of the Old Testament explaining the same faith. Stephen shows them Moses and how he trusted the Lord for the deliverance of Israel from the tyrannical reign of the Pharaoh. He told them Moses prophesied the coming of a prophet like him that would deliver them all, a Messiah. Stephen preached that Israel has turned away from all of the prophets that God has sent. They have turned to their own understandings and false gods for security and strength, and rejected the one true God and his prophets. He was accused of blasphemy, of disgracing the tabernacle of God. Stephen sought to show them that they missed the point entirely, God was so much bigger than a tabernacle, Heaven was His throne and He desired to reside in their hearts. The way to their hearts was through Jesus, the One they killed. When Stephen spoke of Jesus the people began to gnash their teeth and plug their ears to what he was saying. The mention of Jesus stirred a violent response from the crowd, but from heaven a vision came to Stephen of the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. Praise and worship was the only response Stephen could give to what he was seeing from heaven. With the outrage and swiftness of a demonic response Stephen is grabbed and dragged out of town thrown to the ground by the angry crowd.
Outside of the city as the crowd grows ready to stone the preacher, one man stands guard over the coats, he does not pick up a rock, nor does he stop the process. His silence is a blessing on the proceeding. Paul watches as the rocks are hurled at Stephen, his only crime preaching Christ to a lost and dying world. Stephen spends his last breathe praying to God for mercy on the ones guilty of his death. Paul witnesses the unselfish act of a man giving his life that someone might know Christ, a man preaching nothing more than the message of Christ.
Nothing but Jesus that is the basic need of a lost soul. Peter knew it, John knew it, Luke knew it, and all the disciples knew it. Stephen gave his life demonstrating his belief in this truth. Paul would later encounter Jesus on the road to Damascus and come to understand the need of nothing but Jesus. Without Jesus nothing else matters. All of life’s problems are academic if a person does not know Jesus. For without Jesus your destination is the same rich or poor, famous or inconspicuous, eternal separation in hell.
This morning I am preaching from I Cor 2 1-5 entitled “Nothing But Jesus.” We will look at Paul’s desire to deliver the message of Christ to those who had never heard it and how he would present himself.
1. What does God want from us when we share the gospel with others?
2. How much do we have to know?
3. Is there a gift to sharing with others? A gift maybe some of us do not have?
These are questions we will answer in the text today. We will look at Paul’s example preaching and sharing and learn from him. Read text and pray.
Paul was a man well educated. He studied under the Rabbi Gamaliel. He quoted Greek poets so he possibly studied the Greek philosophy and literature. He was a Pharisee and a Jew. All of this training and knowledge meant nothing to him now. Don’t get me wrong education is necessary and a useful tool. We need to take every opportunity to learn as much as we can and to never stop learning. I have gone back to school to finish my college education and hopefully get a seminary degree, but without God in the middle of it I am wasting my time. The realization to which Paul came was his knowledge of worldly things and his intellect was of no consequence compared to Gods divine wisdom. Paul was humbled by God in that he understood the knowledge he obtained over a life time was but a drop in the bucket compared to God’s infinite wisdom.
Paul said in verse 1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with the excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.” And in verse 3 “I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.” With all of his training and all of his academic learning he is humble before God. You see what he was preaching he did not learn from a book, or from the Pharisaical Institute of Higher Learning, he learned from God. Galatians 1:11-12 “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The doctrines Paul preached God gave to him through divine revelation, Paul did not have the New Testament to pull out and study. He did not have God’s word to run to for study time and devotion. The doctrines of the New Testament had not been written. The majority of them were written by him. Knowing that his knowledge was not the source of the message was very humbling to Paul; the source was the throne of God. I Cor. 2:10 “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”